“There are heroes among us. Not to make us feel smaller, but to remind us of what makes us great.” Lois Lane Justice League

There’s a lesson everywhere there is a learner.

I was reminded of a great leadership lesson, how to lead your team to achieve that large goal, last night.  We did some binge-watching and one of the movies we watched was Justice League.

There’s a scene in this movie that many leaders can relate to.  Batman assembled Wonder Woman, Barry Allen AKA Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg to form the Justice League.  It’s the first action scene for the newly created team and Barry Allen panics.  He gets overwhelmed with fear of the thought of going into battle for the first time and his inexperience and the size of the conflict paralyze him.  He’s a mess. Batman who has been leading the group up until this point tells him “save one.”  Repeating this “save one” he calms Flash down to a point where he can focus.  Flash then asks, “and then?” to which Batman responds, “then you’ll know.”

Spoiler alert, if you haven’t seen the movie skip the rest of this paragraph.  Flash then goes in and rescues one person.  Realizing what he had just accomplished and that the task wasn’t so daunting he immediately goes in and saves another, and then another and another until he has rescued all the hostages.

Make the Impossible Possible

There is a great leadership lesson in this for all of us.  There will be times when you must lead your team to achieve large goals.  Just the thought of not knowing where to start will paralyze them with fear.  You may or soon may be facing these types of situations now with COVID and stay at home forcing you to do business differently.

“The world has grown dark, and while we have reasons to fear we have the strength not to. There are heroes among us, to remind us that only from fear, comes courage. That only from the darkness, can we truly feel the light.” Lois Lane, Justice League

Leadership is taking the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) and presenting it in an attainable way to the team.  Making the impossible possible.  This is not sugar coating it or making it less the big hairy beast that it is.  Your team needs to know the magnitude of the project.  They need to know that it is important, and it will certainly be difficult, but not impossible.  Just like in the Justice League example – save one – it starts with taking that first step.

How to lead your team to achieve large goals
  1. Vision.  It all starts with you painting a very clear picture of what the goal is, what the journey will look like, and how you will successfully complete the task.  Remember the expression: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”  Clearly communicate with your team where you are going. Teams that achieve great things share one key; clarity.
  2. Name it. Name the beast to tame the beast.  Add an element of fun by naming the project or the team or both.  You can go one step further and create a battle cry.  Your team may need this pick me up as they run into obstacles along the way.
  3. Know your team. The upfront investment you make in getting to know your team before hit with organizational change, or a large project will pay off.  This will enable you to easily show them where they fit in the project or change, and how their work can move everyone toward the goal. “Save just one”.  It may also open the door to tie their personal goals to the organizations goal.
  4. Set priorities. Give them the top-priorities and empower them to say “no” to other tasks that will impede progress. I had a VP I worked with liked to say, “major in the majors”.  Provide clarity for your team to understand what the majors are.
  5. Be hands on. Do not micromanage but be there to support them along the way. Take the opportunity to lead by example and role model the behaviors they need to be successful.  Celebrate every win and coach the opportunities.  Provide the motivation and inspiration they need to stay committed to the goal and keep moving forward.
  6. Say thank you. Be generous with praise. You can make a monumental difference in team morale by simply taking the time to recognize each employee’s contribution along the way; large or small.

This week’s ELC (Everyday Leader Challenge) select an accomplishment from team member this week that you feel deserves praise and give them that praise.  Post that praise here on our Facebook Page.

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